Published: 09 June 2022

Abdominal thrusts are often used if a dog is choking but you should only use abdominal thrusts if you are certain your dog is choking on a foreign object, as it can cause additional injury. The majority of the time most dogs will clear any obstructions themselves. Many obstructions such as bones may be only partial obstructions and the dog may still be able to breathe while you seek help from a vet.

It is essential that you are very careful when using abdominal thrusts, as you could potentially cause damage to a dog’s internal organs if you apply too much force. Canine ribs are more flexible than human ones. The technique is basically the same as for a human although there is a slight variation between treating a small dog and a medium or large dog.

We cover this procedure on our First Aid for Dogs course, which you can join at one of our open course dates, or get together with a group of friends for your own bespoke course.

Here we give the instructions for how to deal with choking in a medium or large dog. We demonstrate this, and the technique for a small dog, on the course.

For a medium or large dog this how to perform abdominal thrusts:

  1. Stand behind the dog, dog facing away from you and your around dog’s waist.

  2. Make a fist with one hand and place it just below your dog’s ribs. Grasp this fist with the other hand.

  3. Thrust sharply in and up 5 times. Apply enough force to move the dog’s whole body.

  4. Check in between to see if the object is dislodged, try up to 5 more rounds if not.

  5. If the dog is lying down, place one hand on the back for support and use the other hand to squeeze the abdomen upwards and forwards.

  6. Check the dog’s mouth and remove any objects that may have been dislodged with your fingers – be careful of the bite reflex.

If at any time your dog becomes unconscious due to the obstruction of his airway, begin rescue breaths. In all situations, you must visit a vet as soon as possible.

We hope you find this useful. To really understand how to safely and effectively administer CPR on your dog, join our First Aid for Dogs course. We currently have dates in Brighton, on Zoom or our brilliant online distance learning course.

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